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After a month without a game – Leinster are set to take out their anger on Montpellier today


The fact that Leinster have won their past 15 home games by an average of 26 points in the URC should be noted. So far, Montpellier has only won one of their last 19 away Champions Cup games.

So, yeah, you can see the end result. The recent inaction of Leinster is the only positive for the French. Caelan Doris has played 113 minutes of rugby since November, one minute more than Tadhg Furlong has played in that time frame.

Ronan Kelleher has played 78 minutes, Andrew Porter 88, and Garry Ringrose 140 for Leinster since November.

Not that it matters, because Montpellier has Covid troubles of their own and Leinster is always tweaking their line-up. Ruck and maul are as common as mix and match in their locker room.

It’s hard to see Leo Cullen arriving at the RDS this morning feeling panicked after two Pro14 finals with their captain on the bench. Why would they? Leinster have utilised Ross Byrne more than Sexton in the
It’s obvious who is missing from the backline: Sexton, Robbie Henshaw and James Lowe. The odds are against it. Montpellier’s team includes three adolescents. Their team is good, but their greatest XV is in France.

So Leinster should do. They have no weaknesses, even in their novice players. To be fair to Jimmy O’Brien, he hasn’t played a lot of rugby. Leinster’s 39th cap for the wing.

That’s OK, they’re used to missing players. It’s weekly.

The ability to keep players happy is something Leo has done exceptionally well, according to Leinster CEO Mick Dawson. With him, every player gets 16 or 17 games per season. “He leads his team well.”

That will be useful today. A good reputation in the Top14, but only. They won the Challenge Cup last season but haven’t done much else.

With their quick recycling, compact defence, crisp attacking patterns and general intent, they controlled much of the first half against Exeter last month.

That changed by the time Exeter tuned in. It was a mirror image of Leinster’s opening half against Bath. Inaccuracy trumped slop Their directness allowed them to find holes in a well-organised Montpellier defensive, resulting in fewer penalties.

Neither Leinster nor Montpellier have played in almost a month. What does it say about their European ambition if several of their players took a holiday last month before the Exeter game? They have won five games in a row entering Exeter. They fell 42-
Exeter’s newfound intensity caused damage, as they allowed five tries after the interval and only one before. So Leinster know what they need to do to improve their record to six victories, one tie, and one loss in this series.

Not a problem. It’s hard not to believe that Leinster will not only win but win well without Paul Willemse, Mohamed Haouas, and Jeremie Maurouard. Sore from last month’s cancelled match, when Montpellier won 28-0. Attendees can expect them to be enraged.

Jordan Larmour; Ronan Kelleher; Tadhg Furlong; Ross Molony; Caelan Doris, Josh van der Flier; Jimmy O’Brien; Ross Byrne, Jamison Gibson-Park. Remplaçants: Michael Ala’alatoa; Rhys Ruddock; Max Deegan; Luke McGrath; Johnny Sexton; James Lowe

Louis Foursans, Gela Aprasidze, Mikheil Nariashvili, Guilhem Guirado captain, Henry Thomas, Tyler Duguid, Mickael Capelli, Masivesi Dakuwaqa.

Last five years, Sexton has only played 28 minutes of Champions Cup rugby this season and last, according to the RFU.